This week marks the 20th anniversary of the classic animated basketball film Space Jam. The Michael Jordan / Bill Murray / Warner Brothers vehicle has become a kid's movie staple in the two decades since, and the music of its soundtracks has continued to live on in timeless memories and memes. But while you may still have R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," Seal's "Fly Like an Eagle," or Quad City DJ's titular track as a part of your regular playlist, there's a lot of mystery and intrigue surrounding the album's closing track, Bugs Bunny's rap song "Buggin'."
Namely, the fact that it was written by Jay-Z.
That's right, as if Jigga didn't give us enough in '96 with his classic Reasonable Doubt, Shawn Carter penned "Buggin'" (or "[Ya] Buggin'" if you're nasty) for Space Jam to further cement the movie's hip urban edge.
There's plenty of nods not just to Jay's work at the time (having Bugs says "ain't no Bunny like the one I've got"), but to his hip-hop contemporaries (Puffy, 2Pac, Kool Moe Dee, Hammer) as well. While Hov does rehash the film's plot (including a playful dig at Jordan's baseball career), there's no less than three references to parent company Warner Bros., just to make the executives happy. These are the track's best lines, including "Bugs got more props than the Warner Brothers lot," and the regional nod to Warner's Atlanta warehouse with "You guys can Bankhead Bounce, or do the Bunny Hop."
Having a young master like Jay at the helm keeps "Buggin'" in the upper-tier of rap singles from fictional characters. It's head-and-ears above Disney's Mickey Unwrapped hip-hop project which came out two years prior, hence Bugs taking a veiled shot at the House of Mouse in the opening verse.
Who knows how many young rap fans were created by this rich entry in the kids' movie's soundtrack canon, one chalk full of subtle rap references that give them a familiar rap foundation for years of hip-hop fandom to come.